Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. Midwest farm economy hit hard by record floods - Fed banks

U.S. farm incomes in the Midwest and Mid-Southern states declined yet again in the second quarter of 2019, as record floods devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt, according to banker surveys released on Thursday by the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis and Kansas City. Nearly two-thirds of the bankers surveyed by the St. Louis Fed said a majority of their farm customers were either significantly or modestly impacted by the flooding and other adverse weather earlier this year.

McConnell rejects mayors' demand for Senate action on gun bills, after shootings

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday rejected a plea from more than 200 mayors to call the Senate back early to consider new gun legislation, following two weekend mass shootings that left 31 people dead. The 214 mayors, including those of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which were the scenes of the weekend massacres, in a letter to the Senate majority leader and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged the Senate to vote on legislation already approved by the House of Representatives expanding background checks for guns sales without waiting for the end of the Senate's summer recess.

Facebook loses facial recognition appeal, must face privacy class action

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook Inc's effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent. The 3-0 decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over Facebook's facial recognition technology exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case.

Petition by Walmart employee to protest gun sales gathers over 45,000 signatures

A petition started by a junior Walmart Inc worker in California to protest the retailer's sale of firearms, following two mass shootings over the weekend left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio, has gathered more than 45,000 signatures. Thomas Marshall, a 23-year-old category manager in San Bruno began his protest by emailing fellow employees and asking them to call in sick on Tuesday, leave work early on Wednesday, and to sign a Change.org petition.

Puerto Rico's new governor says she intends to remain in office

The revolving door at the governor's office in Puerto Rico may finally stop with Wanda Vazquez, the newly sworn-in chief executive of the bankrupt U.S. territory, who said on Thursday she has no plans to resign. In a series of interviews with local media, Puerto Rico's former justice secretary denied reports that she had agreed to resign soon to allow Jenniffer Gonzalez, the Caribbean island's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress, to take over.

Texas shooting suspect's mother alerted police about his gun ownership: CNN

The Dallas-area mother of the young man arrested in the mass shooting that killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, had called police weeks earlier expressing concern about his fitness to own an assault-style rifle, CNN said on Wednesday. The mother contacted the Allen Police Department because she worried whether her son, aged 21, was mature or experienced enough in handling such a weapon to have purchased an "AK"-type firearm, CNN said, citing lawyers for the suspect's family.

NRA criticizes presidential candidates after mass shootings

The National Rifle Association accused U.S. presidential candidates on Thursday of trying to politicize the deadly mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, warning against enhanced background checks for gun buyers a day after Republican President Donald Trump embraced the idea. "Unfortunately, aspiring presidential candidates immediately took to the airwaves this past weekend to politicize these tragedies, and to demonize the NRA and its 5 million law-abiding members," the gun rights lobby said in a statement without mentioning candidates' names or party affiliations.

Mexico wants U.S. help to identify white supremacist threats

Mexico's government on Wednesday pressed the United States to cooperate in helping to identify white supremacists that pose a threat to its citizens after a weekend shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed eight Mexican nationals. A total of 22 people lost their lives in the shooting at a Walmart store, an event Mexico has vowed to investigate as an act of terrorism. It said it may also request the suspected perpetrator be extradited to Mexico for trial.

Police say California man killed four in string of 'savage' stabbings

A 33-year-old felon accused of killing four people and wounding two others in a stabbing spree in two Southern California cities "savagely attacked" his victims seemingly at random and unprovoked, police said on Thursday. The suspect, Zachary Castaneda, was taken into custody on Wednesday evening outside of a 7-Eleven convenience store in Santa Ana, California, moments after stabbing to death a security guard there, police said.

FDA tells four firms to stop selling flavored e-cigarette, hookah products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has told four companies to remove 44 of their flavored e-liquid and hookah tobacco products that do not have the required approval for sale in the U.S., the agency said on Thursday. The move comes against the backdrop of the FDA's efforts to curb the usage of the addictive substances among young adults.